Mar
26

Yanks bench seemingly set

By

Via Ed Price comes news that the Yanks bench appears set:

While the Yankees won’t say it publicly, their bench is set (barring unforeseen circumstances).

The Yankees have told people they plan to carry Morgan Ensberg. So assuming a lineup with Johnny Damon in left field, Hideki Matsui as designated hitter and Jason Giambi at first base (“He’s going to play a lot of first base,” manager Joe Girardi said today), the bench would be Ensberg, backup catcher Jose Molina, infielder Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan. That makes Betemit the only reserve middle infielder.

I like this bench. The Yanks are going heavy on the corner infielders and power hitters and light on the backup middle infielders, defensive replacements and outfielders. As Price notes, the Yanks will rely on Betemit to backup Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter. While doubts about Wilson’s middle infield prowess linger, barring any unforeseen injuries, I don’t expect seeing Cano and Jeter out of the lineup too often.

Considering last year’s Opening Day bench — Miguel Cairo and Wil Nieves, anyone? — I’d say Brian Cashman‘s done an excellent job turning one of the Yanks’ weaknesses into a clear strength.

Categories : Analysis

35 Comments»

  1. [...] Yanks bench seemingly set – Ben K. – River Ave. Blues [...]

  2. Mike A. says:

    Ensberg can play 2B and SS in an emergency role. He couldn’t play there everyday or even part-time, but if Jeter and Cano run into each other while turning a DP in the first one day, he could handle a middle infield spot for 9 innings. Not ideal, but neither is having Jeter and/or Cano out of the lineup.

  3. J.R. says:

    This is one of the best benches in baseball. Every single guy on it has legit power and good OBP (except Molina).

  4. TP says:

    absolutely no speed or above-average baserunning skills, though.

    that’s my only problem

  5. E-ROC says:

    I would like to see more speed on the bench though, for pinch-running situations. But the bench has definitely been upgraded.

  6. sabernar says:

    Re: speed on the bench. Don’t worry, someone is bound to go on the DL sooner or later and they’ll bring up a guy with a bit of speed (Gardner or middle infielder).

  7. LiveFromNewYork says:

    Ca$hmoney Roolz

    I don’t always say that but with the trinity still in tact and the bench much better than it was, I gotta give the man some props. And wrestling the Steinbrenners and all those egos can’t be the easiest job on the planet. There were times in the past year that he looked like he had a permanently furrowed brow.

  8. dan says:

    Horne’s line today, courtesy of chad jennings…

    Alan Horne 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

    sweeeeeeet

  9. Jamal G. says:

    The speed although I would like to have isn’t as important on the bench because the only clear-cut choices you can PR for in the starting nine is Posada and Giambi. Matsui isn’t a great runner but he isn’t molasses on the basepaths either as are Posada and Giambi.

    That’s one thing I like about the Yankees lineup, we have pretty good overall speed. The Yankees were 4th in the AL in stolen bases last season (which for some reason people seem to disregard/misremember) with 40 and with a ML best .366 OBP, that’s a dangerous combination. We did have 3 guys with 23+ SBs last season and 5 total with 13 or more. So with the starters we have pretty good overall speed so spped on the bench is not a big an issue as it may usually be.

  10. Ben K. says:

    If not having speed on the bench means the Yankees will stop pinch hitting for Jason Giambi late in the game, I’m all for not having speed on the bench. There was nothing quite as bad seeing Enrique Wilson come up to bat with the game on the line in the 11th because Torre pinch ran for Giambi with two outs in the 8th of a tie game.

  11. Jamal G. says:

    I’m starting to think that IPK may have to battle for his rotation spot a little bit harder next spring than he did in this one. If Horne really is the next one to take the leap, he can (and since some, maybe many believe he has a higher ceiling due to his better stuff) take away IPK’s 5th spot in the rotation next spring training.

    But who knows, if Pettitte is on his last run around this season then Joba and Horne can just replace Pettitte/Mussina seamlessly.

    Damn is it good having pitching depth in the organization.

    Come on Jairo Heredia/Dellin Betances, do y’all thing this year!

  12. mustang says:

    Brian “Dollar Bill” Cashman did a great job with the bench. The right-handed hitting line-up is the best I seen to beginning the season. Well done !!!!

  13. Lanny says:

    I think its safe to say that this bench wont be the bench you see in July.

    Hopefully it only gets better and this is a clear improvement over the past 7 eyars.

  14. steve (different one) says:

    this is a very solid bench. the yankees can run out a pretty good RH lineup when they see a tough lefty. that is something they haven’t been able to do the last few years.

    and if you want that super speedy pinch runner in the playoffs, you don’t need 12 pitchers. send down a reliever, move your last starter to the bullpen, and put Gardner on the roster.

    for the regular season, i’ll take the guys who can get on base and hit HRs.

  15. mustang says:

    Mr. Igawa goes tomorrow maybe the bullpen will be set by the weekend. Mr.Traber pitched well again. It seems like only 2 spots are left.

  16. mustang says:

    Man, It will be hard not see Ohlendorf make this team. I’m hoping he does.

    • steve (different one) says:

      i agree, i like Ohlendorf.

      but if he doesn’t make it, i’m not worried that he won’t get a shot.

      he’ll definitely be in the Bronx sometime this season.

  17. I really like the ebnch, and it is 100% better than last year. If Cano or Jeter get hurt (knock on wood) than Betemit is decent for that game or a couple of games, then we can take someone from AAA to replace for a little bit. Though if either get hurt, the team is in trouble regardless of who is the back-up. My only problem with the bench is the lack of speed for a pinch runner, or a real defensive backup at first.

    http://aroundthemajors.blogspot.com/

  18. Travis G. says:

    yeah, the Yanks can have a very good lineup vs LHP, as opposed to last year:

    SS Jeter
    RF Abreu
    DH Arod
    C Posada
    1b Duncan/Giambi
    3b Ensberg
    2b Cano
    LF Matsui/Damon
    CF Melky

    with Molina & Betemit as RHB off the bench.

    • Travis G. says:

      in a way, i hope one of Shelley/Ensberg sucks so that Gardner comes up as a LIDR, pinch-runner. for those late inning Giambi/Posada walks, he can come in and steal bases, tag up, etc., which is probably more important than one of Shelley/Ensberg, who are almost the same player.

    • Jamal G. says:

      I think Duncan would play in favor of Abreu and Enzie in favor of the Big G vs. LHP.

  19. mustang says:

    I was thinking more like:
    LF Damon-L
    2B Cano- L
    SS Jeter -R
    3B Arod-R
    C Posada-S
    DH-Matsui-L
    RF Duncan-R
    1B Ensberg-R
    CF Melky-S
    Maybe change Jeter and Cano, but not a bad righty line up.

  20. Rob says:

    I frankly can’t see any manager benching both Giambi and Abreu (or Matsui or Damon) for Ensberg and Duncan. I’ll be happily pleased, but I just can’t see it.

    But if that happens will it really be against every starting LHP? Again, I can’t see it. And would Girardi PH either of the righties if the opposing team brought in a tough lefty like Okajima?

    So my question is: Exactly how many games will both Duncan and Ensberg play together? Cause if they don’t play together there’s exactly zero reason to have both on the team.

    • steve (different one) says:

      yeah, i’m not sure i agree that Girardi won’t bench Giambi and Damon/Abreu if he looks at the spits and the numbers say to play the righties.

      unless those guys are all having monster seasons. but in that case, who cares who the 25th guy on the roster is since it would mean the Yankees are scoring tons of runs?

  21. mustang says:

    That why it’s a RIGHTY LINE-UP. And yes Girardi would.

  22. mustang says:

    Torre did it for years we just got better personnel this year.

  23. Rob says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it. But I’ll be absolutely shocked if Girardi does it even once a week.

    No one has answered: Do you really think Girardi will pinch hit Duncan or Ensberg for Giambi or Abreu or Matsui or Damon against a tough lefty like Okajima? Frankly I can’t see it.

    • ceciguante says:

      rob, i could see duncan PH for, say, giambi against a tough lefty, esp if jason isn’t hitting or has a nagging injury (which aint uncommon). i think we’ll see girardi mix it up, not stand behind the vets as steadfastly torre did. i bet he’ll go a little more with who is hot, who has the good splits, and who needs the swings. between that and injury/fatigue, this bench will get its at bats. but i agree i’d be a bit surprised seeing duncan and ensberg in the lineup together with any frequency. i’m not sold yet that both of those guys can hit (but i confess i haven’t seen ensberg much at all).

      i also see betemit getting his work as the only backup middle infielder. but he doesn’t hit well as a righty, does he?

  24. Kyle says:

    I think this answers the question as to how Girardi will manage this year, whether it be an AL/NL style. This almost forces his hand because there isn’t a whole lot of small ball and speed coming off the bench to lay down a bunt and move the winning/tying run into scoring position. Can’t say I’m upset with this, just more of an observation with all the talk about what style of managing he will use.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.